The third in a trilogy (after Saara’s Passage, 2008), Sabotage continues the story of a Finnish-Canadian family during World War I. The newspaper is full of spies, which are known to be active in Canada, and acts of sabotage. Although most citizens are not at risk, the threat of danger produces fear and, often, xenophobia. Saara Mäki and her younger brother John are wrapped up in themselves. Saara, a good student, may have to repeat a year of school because of an extended absence, which could ruin her chances of becoming a teacher. John, a newsboy, feels responsible for setting the record straight when he knows a reporter is misleading readers. The two squabble over who has the worse problem.
Meanwhile, townspeople are turning on anyone who doesn’t speak English well or anyone who has a German-sounding name. A Ukrainian neighbor is arrested. A German family is interned in a faraway camp. The situation becomes real for the Mäki siblings when they are singled out as “foreign” because of Saara’s European pigtails. They learn the meaning of injustice the hard way, and, after helping catch a spy, they also learn a lot about loyalty – but since they’re siblings, that may be temporary. Sabotage is a well-written, fast-moving adventure that never becomes tedious. Although part of a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone by young adults ages 10 and up.